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  • Great escape

    There's a reason 16,000 Jackson County residents own RVs — they're fun
  • More than 16,000 Jackson County residents own recreational vehicles, and none of them are hurting for destinations close to home.
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  • More than 16,000 Jackson County residents own recreational vehicles, and none of them are hurting for destinations close to home.
    "Within 100 miles you've just got a huge number of places to go," says Chris Oman, vice president and wagon master for Rogue Valley Rovers, one of several local RV clubs. "There's probably 40 parks within 100 miles."
    "It's a perfect area for RVs and camping, because there are so many options," agrees Sharon Weston, co-owner of Triple A RV Center in Medford. "You can have the snow, you can have the beach or somewhere in between."
    Jackson County, with a population 202,000, had 6,868 travel trailers, 743 campers and 3,566 motor homes registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles in 2012. In Josephine County, with 83,000 residents, there were 3,048 travel trailers, 183 campers and 2,064 motor homes.
    Pat T. Randall, secretary of the Rogue Valley Rovers RV club, says she likes the Lone Mountain RV Resort in O'Brien.
    "There's things to see and do around there, and the owners are very welcoming to RV groups," says Randall, pointing to the Siskiyou Smoke Jumpers Museum at the Illinois Valley Airport and the Oregon Caves National Monument. The park has a walking trail beside a small creek, she says.
    Several locations along the Rogue River attract RVers, as well.
    Valley of the Rogue State Park between Rogue River and Gold Hill is a good spot for RVs, as is Indian Mary Park, run by Josephine County, eight miles west of Merlin, says Randall.
    Chris Petersen of Mike's RV in Medford also mentions Indian Mary as a popular spot, although he notes not all the campsites have hookups.
    Josephine County also operates Schroeder Park west of Grants Pass on the Rogue, says Oman. BridgeView RV Park in Rogue River is another nice area located on the river, Oman adds.
    "Jackson County has several places that are great. Howard Prairie is a real nice park," he says. "Fishermen really like it. It has some trailers you can rent."
    Traveling Highway 62 toward Crater Lake yields several options.
    Joseph H. Stewart State Park at Lost Creek Reservoir has 151 sites with water and electricity that are open March 1 through Oct. 31.
    Prospect's Crater Lake RV Park, just five years old, was designed by full-time RVers. It has barbecue pits and separation between the spaces so campers aren't right next to one another, says Oman.
    Also near Crater Lake, Oman says, Diamond Lake is "incredible."
    Weston mentions that the Union Creek and Farewell Bend campgrounds near Union Creek are popular with some of her employees who RV regularly. The campgrounds don't have hookups, but with the upper Rogue River and many miles of hiking trails nearby, there are many things to do.
    In the Cascades on Highway 140, Fish Lake offers a 46-space park, while Lake of the Woods has sites in the Sunset and Aspen Point campgrounds.
    RVers who want to get out of town for short outings have almost unlimited options, whether they head down into Northern California, north on Interstate 5 or over to the coast.
    Just an hour-and-a-half north of Medford, Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville has a popular RV park that offers a swimming pool, hot tub and shuttle to the casino and town.
    "It's actually a spectacular park," says Weston. "From there you can go golfing or to Wildlife Safari."
    Bullard Beach State Park just north of Bandon has been a regular stop for more than 25 years for Stan Ehrenpfort, president of the Rogue Valley Rovers. He goes crabbing there in the fall and runs into a lot of other campers doing the same.
    Other coastal stops mentioned include Irelands in Gold Beach, the Port of Brookings-Harbor in Brookings, and the Oceanside RV Park and Port RV Park in Charleston.
    Several travelers attend a hot air balloon festival held in Montague, Calif. each September. There's no park, but RVers camp in the same field where the balloons are launched.
    "It's an all-around good way to have some fun without spending a lot of money, except for gas," says Ehrenpfort.
    Your choice of a park depends a lot on what you like to do, says Weston. Some will choose locations for quiet and seclusion, while others might opt for a lake or river if they are into water sports.
    Wherever one goes, Ehrenpfort recommends that campers make reservations early, because the more popular campgrounds can fill up on holiday weekends and during the summer.
    Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.
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